The NAM Announces Formation of New Immigration Coalition to Boost STEM Education Skills Gap Holding Back U.S. Economic Growth January 22, 2013 The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced the formation of a new coalition, inSPIRE STEM USA (Supporting Productive Immigration Reform and Education). The coalition, comprised of businesses, education groups and other national associations, is being formed to address the high-skilled jobs crisis and improve the U.S. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education system. Innovation is the lifeblood of manufacturing, and it is critical that companies have the skilled workforce they need. As a technologically advanced industry, manufacturing relies on skilled workers to lead and grow the U.S. economy.The coalition members support a two-pronged solution to the shortage of available candidates for high-skilled jobs—improvements in the U.S. STEM pipeline and reforms that increase H1B visas and green cards. Aspects of the effort to strengthen the STEM education system include hiring and training more STEM teachers and assisting college students to earn degrees in STEM fields. Companies seeking additional H1B and green card workers to fill existing vacancies would fund the initiative.“Manufacturing is a sleek, technology-focused industry that requires high-skilled workers to drive the innovation that has made us the world’s manufacturing leader,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers are dealing with a skills gap that has left 600,000 jobs vacant across the nation. inSPIRE STEM USA is urging Congress and the Administration to implement immigration and education policies that will fix the skilled worker crisis as they look to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform. By reforming the H1B visa system, manufacturers can fill existing jobs today while strengthening the U.S. STEM education pipeline to ensure that U.S. college graduates are able to fill those jobs tomorrow.”inSPIRE STEM USA is co-chaired by former Sen. John E. Sununu (R-NH) and Maria Cardona, a former adviser to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and surrogate for both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.The current coalition membership includes the following: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Caterpillar Inc., Council of Chief State School Officers, IBM, Intel Corporation, League of United Latin American Citizens, Microsoft Corporation, the NAM and National Science Teachers Association.